This problem started so long ago that I really have no insight into when or why it first started happening, but for a while now, whenever I started X with the `startx` command, I would get the following error message:
There was an error starting the GNOME Settings Daemon.
Some things, such as themes, sounds, or background settings may not work
The Settings Daemon restarted too many times.
After poking around for a little while, I finally came across Gentoo Bug 150909. I didn’t have the linking problem found by Stian Skejelstad, but Daniel Gryniewicz’s Comment to add
eval `dbus-launch --sh-syntax --exit-with-session` to your
~/.xinitrc worked great.
~/.xinitrc now looks like this:
eval `dbus-launch –sh-syntax –exit-with-session`